The Luna App

Available in

Get App
Call Us 866-806-3599

Physical therapy for upper back pain

What is upper back pain?

Given that the upper back bears far less weight than the lower back, it is generally less vulnerable to injury. As a result, upper back pain tends to be much less common than lower back pain. Patients that do experience upper back pain frequently find it to be debilitating.

The upper back runs from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage, and a number of underlying causes or conditions can produce chronic pain in the area. Overuse (usually due to poor posture) is one of the most common causes of upper back pain, although it can also sometimes be attributed to a pinched nerve, a herniated disc, osteoarthritis, or even gallbladder issues.

Source: WebMD

Upper back pain symptoms

Upper back pain symptoms can vary greatly from person to person, as symptoms tend to differ depending on the cause and severity of the patient’s condition. For some patients, upper back pain may be mild and/or temporary, disappearing after just a few days. For others, it may be chronic, worsen over time, or interfere with daily tasks.

The most common symptoms associated with upper back pain include sharp, stabbing pain; general discomfort or an aching sensation; stiffness and reduced mobility; radiating pain that travels into the arms, chest, or lower back; and tingling, numbness, and weakness. Patients likely won’t experience all of these symptoms.

The most common symptoms of upper back pain include:

  • Sharp pain
  • Discomfort
  • Stiffness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

Source: Spine-Health

What causes upper back pain?

Typically, upper back pain is due to either overuse or another underlying condition. Overuse injuries occur when the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine become strained or injured. This may occur if the patient participates in an activity that places stress on the upper back or if the patient has poor posture.

Conditions that can cause upper back pain include spinal nerve problems, including a pinched nerve or a herniated disc. Osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, or a vertebral fracture could also cause upper back pain. Finally, upper back pain can also be a symptom of gallbladder disease, cancer, or a severe infection.

The most common causes of upper back pain include:

  • Overuse
  • Poor posture
  • Spinal nerve problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Myofascial pain

Source: U of Michigan

Physical therapy for upper back pain

Physical therapy is a front-line treatment for upper back pain, as physical therapy methods have been shown to treat many of its underlying causes. Pinched nerves, herniated discs, and osteoarthritis, for example, can be improved with physical therapy. In addition, physical therapists can correct poor posture and instruct patients on strategies to avoid overuse of the upper back.

The most common methods used to treat upper back pain include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapies, and strengthening exercises.

Source: Spine Universe

Luna’s physical therapists treat
upper back pain

Luna employs Bay Area and Los Angeles-based physical therapists that specialize in treating patients with upper back pain. With a focus on helping the patient to safely, quickly, and comfortably return to the activities they love, our PTs formulate treatment plans that not only reduce pain and restore mobility but treat the underlying condition as well.

With at-home physical therapy from Luna, patients can receive physical therapy for upper back pain in the most convenient location imaginable. Our physical therapists will come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

Download the app

Enter your mobile number and we’ll send you a link to download the app (iOS/Android).

Ready to book? Download the Luna App to manage your appointments, message the Luna Concierge and your physical therapist, and more.